New laws address beverages in barbershops, cameras in voting booths, and more | January 4, 2017 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - January 4, 2017

New laws address beverages in barbershops, cameras in voting booths, and more

by Dave Boyce

Under a new law, the drinks will be on the house when getting your hair trimmed.

As of Jan. 1, beauty salon and barbershop owners in good standing with the state Board of Barbering and Cosmetology can serve up to 12 ounces of complimentary beer or 6 ounces of wine, according to Assembly Bill AB 1322 by Assemblyman Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, and now-Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.

Free beer and wine were already available in limousines and on hot-air balloon rides, according to a report by the state Legislative Analyst's Office. The report showed support for the new law from Drybar salons and 18|8 Fine Men's Salons, both nationwide chains. Opposition included the California Alcohol Policy Alliance, the California Council on Alcohol Problems, the Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Policy Alliance, the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, and "several hundred individuals."

The law is one of 893 passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor in 2016, according to a report from the state Legislative Analyst's Office. Most were effective on Jan. 1. The Legislature established a state fabric, added several refinements to rape law, tightened the restrictions on using cellphones while driving, and protected rights for a category of selfie photos.

Go to for the complete list.

If you're feeling patriotic about being a Californian, the passage of AB 501 lets you to express your pride with subtlety. As of Jan. 1, denim is the official state fabric, courtesy of Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael.

Denim has a history in the state. It was invented in San Francisco and patented in 1873, according to the bill's narrative. Denim jeans are a $60 billion global industry that employs some 200,000 people just in Southern California, the bill says. The bill had the support of the state's cotton growers and the retail clothier The Gap, and no registered opposition.

As of Jan. 1, the passage of AB 1494 allows voters to take selfie photos of themselves with their ballots after having voted in an election, thereby revealing how they voted. The issue came up in federal cases in New Hampshire and Indiana, where laws forbade such photos. The courts threw out the laws as violations of First Amendment rights of political speech.

Driving related

The Legislature repealed state law prohibiting driving while holding a cellphone or similar device for texting, and added a law that prohibits driving while simply holding such devices.

AB 1785 allows a driver to activate or deactivate a function on a cellphone or similar device if the action needs only a single swipe of or tap of the driver's finger, and if the device is mounted in a way that does not inhibit the driver's view of the road, such as is done with GPS devices. The bill had the support of first responders. Opponents included the state Chamber of Commerce and computer-related trade associations.

With the passage of AB 1289, drivers for ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft must undergo more extensive background checks and will not be eligible to drive if registered as a sex offender or convicted of driving under the influence or violent felonies, including domestic violence.

Personal safety

Legislators added three new laws related to rape and other sexual offenses. Senate Bill 1182 classifies the possession of date-rape drugs, specifically ketamine, gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and Rohypnol, as a felony when the intent is to commit sexual assault.

Senate Bill SB 813 removes the 10-year statute of limitations for sexual offenses, including rape and sexual assault of minors. Assembly Bill AB 2888 prohibits a court from granting probation or suspending a sentence if the defendant is convicted of rape by force and other types of sexual assault.

The Legislative Analyst's Office shows that the three bills have the backing of the law enforcement community, along with some support from advocacy groups for women and victims of crime. Opponents included the American Civil Liberties Union and groups representing defense attorneys.

On the home front, it is now illegal for a landlord to show, rent or lease a home if the landlord knows that the dwelling is infested with bed bugs. Assembly Bill AB 551 had the support of the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the California Apartment Association, the California Association of Realtors and the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California. Regional apartment associations, including in Northern California and the East Bay, opposed the bill.


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